Ever since last Sunday, I have been looking forward to this day. Making this Saturday special in the first place is that my Seattle Seahawks will open up their defense of the Lombardi Trophy by playing in a divisional playoff game this evening. Adding a little more luster to this game is the opponent they will be playing.
When the Seahawks kickoff against the Carolina Panthers at 8:15 p.m. ET I will be cheering on my team in enemy territory. Living in the Carolinas has exposed me to a different NFL team that also wears a shade of blue. Throughout this season I have read about the Panthers each day in the paper, watched glimpses of their games every Sunday on TV (thanks to regional coverage), and encountered scores of fans decked out in Cam Newton jerseys. With Carolina’s win in the wild card round last week, this fan base is on fire for its NFL team.
While in most circumstances I would embrace the local team in my area and root hard for the Panthers, this is definitely not the case today. My home state team, the organization that I have cheered on during its lowest and highest points, is colliding with Carolina in a high stakes playoff game and you better believe I am backing Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, and the 12th Man. There is no straddling the fence on this one.
I will be watching the game tonight in a bar surrounded by Carolina Panthers fans with a Carolina Panthers bartender slinging my drinks. As the Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champs and the Panthers squeaked into the playoffs with a losing record I will “act like I have been there” and remain classy the whole time I am cheering on Seattle. It should be a fun evening with good-natured ribbing and a win for the team from the Pacific Northwest. Let’s go 12th Man, be loud tonight! Don’t Blink.